The global pandemic has affected everyone in a different way. In this guest blog, Edinburgh Palette, a community of makers, designers and artists, working alongside charities, creative enterprises and small businesses, shares how they have dealt with the challenge of COVID-19 and continued to provide support.
This community has steadily grown in St Margaret’s House, creating an inclusive hub where artists, craftspeople, community groups and businesses share space, interact and exchange ideas while providing a diverse programme of public events and exhibitions.
The summer months in Edinburgh are usually the most vibrant and exciting, with Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival fast approaching. It is the biggest arts festival in the world and as an arts-based charity; it is something we are frequently involved with in some way or another. This year, however, the excitement surrounding summer was dimmed.
With the Coronavirus outbreak affecting the way in which everyone worked, it was important for us to be able to deliver the same services to our tenants. After many cancelled workshops, classes and exhibitions, it was evident that the “new normal” would be online, at least for a while anyway.
Communication is key
We began by issuing internal communications to all of our tenants to inform them of changes within the building and ways in which we were able to support them during this time. This included the promotion of online classes on our website and social media, featured artist news stories included in our weekly newsletter and the most popular yet, online gallery exhibitions as a means to keep art exhibiting alive during this uncertain time.
We started this journey by hosting a very broad and open pop-up exhibition for current residents of St Margaret’s House. This encompassed a wide range of media from glasswork to jewellery to painting. Each piece of work listed was linked to each artist’s Residents’ Directory profile, a feature on our website that has proven to be invaluable during this time.
This is where artists can promote themselves by providing an artist statement, linking their website, email address, and social media accounts. We encouraged everyone participating in this exhibition to make sure their profile was as up-to-date as it could be, and well it seems to have paid off as some of our artists sold some work
Adapting to the online world
After such a big success with our first online pop-up, we decided to create a calendar of themed pop-ups throughout the remainder of 2020 to accompany a variety of individual exhibitions from artists and collectives. In addition to our gallery spaces, we have created a private studio space for artists who still need to hang and photograph their works prior to their online exhibition; afterwards, the space is restored and deep cleaned ready for the next artist.
Alongside the online exhibition space we are offering, we are also assisting with the editing of images for artists who are finding the transition to the online world a little tricky. Once each exhibition is over, it is placed into an archive of past online exhibitions on our website, a sort of memoir of these times. We currently have no free spaces until the middle of October!
In the interim, we are in the process of altering one of our smaller galleries into a socially distanced workshop area so that our tenants can use it for holding larger classes whilst still adhering to government guidelines.
For those who are still offering online classes and tutorials, we have recently secured a new IT kit for St Margaret’s House, which will see Wi-Fi reach all studio spaces in the building. For the next 12 months, this Wi-Fi service will be free to use as a token of appreciation to our tenants for sticking by us in these incredibly difficult times. We are so very pleased with the uptake of our new online gallery feature. Should any of the Artisanry Co.’s community wish to utilize this service later in the year, please do get in touch with Marcin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss dates and get some more information.
An online community of makers
At Artisanry Co., we understand the need to adapt during these challenging times, ensuring that the wellbeing and livelihood of the artisan community in the UK is supported. We’ve launched our online shop this week.
The shop will provide makers, crafters, artists, and artisans a safe and inclusive space to promote, and consumers to purchase, their wares If you’re a maker, please get in touch with us to find out more about how to showcase your products in the shop. Alternatively, fill in our join us form and we will get in touch!